Title:
Quick release buckle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A quick release buckle of the type having a male portion which cooperates with and fits into a female portion of the buckle wherein the male portion of the buckle is provided with a pair of spring arms and a central guide which are receivable in the female portion of the buckle, the center guide being receivable in a center channel in the female portion of the buckle and the spring arms being received in and expandable into release openings in the female portion of the buckle when the two are interfitted and wherein a shoulder on each spring arm will lock against an inner rim on the release openings, the improvement which comprises a drawstring connected to the outer end of the central guide on the male portion of the buckle through the center channel of the female portion of the buckle, the drawstring, when pulled being capable of pulling the center guide into the center channel of the female portion of the buckle whereby the spring arms will lock into the release openings, the center guide on the male portion of the buckle, the central channel in the female portion of the buckle and the drawstring all having the same cross-sectional shape.



Inventors:
Hampton, William D. (Broken Arrow, OK, US)
Application Number:
11/636827
Publication Date:
03/20/2008
Filing Date:
12/11/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A44B11/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BRITTAIN, JAMES R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
William S. Dorman (Tulsa, OK, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. In a quick release buckle of the type having a male portion which cooperates with and fits into a female portion of the buckle wherein the male portion of the buckle is provided with a pair of spring arms and a central guide which are receivable in the female portion of the buckle, the center guide being receivable in a center channel in the female portion of the buckle and the spring arms being received in and expandable into release openings in the female portion of the buckle when the two are interfitted and wherein a shoulder on each spring arm will lock against an inner rim on the release openings, the improvement which comprises a drawstring connected to the outer end of the central guide on the male portion of the buckle through the center channel of the female portion of the buckle, the drawstring, when pulled being capable of pulling the center guide into the center channel of the female portion of the buckle whereby the spring arms will lock into the release openings.

2. A quick release buckle as set forth in claim 1 wherein the center guide on the male portion of the buckle, the central channel in the female portion of the buckle and the drawstring all have the same cross-sectional shape.

3. A quick release buckle as set forth in claim 2 wherein the cross-sectional shape is preferably rectangular.

Description:

The present Application is a non-provisional application based upon provisional application Ser. No. 60/845,366, filed on Sep. 18, 2006, for “Simple Snap.”

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to a quick release buckle and more specifically it relates to a simple release buckle to provide an easier and more reliable connection for a football helmet or any other helmet that uses a traditional buckling system.

2. Prior Art

There are numerous patents that shown quick release buckles which are broadly similar to the quick release buckle of the present invention.

One such patent is Lerra et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,226,844 B1 issued May 8, 2001. In Lerra et al., which also describe the prior art in quite complete terms, the quick release buckle of the prior art is shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 1A wherein the quick release buckle consists of a female element 14 and a male element 12. A typical, previously known side release buckle 10 is shown in FIG. 1 and FIG. 1A of Lerra et al. it includes a male component 12 and a cooperating female component 14. To fasten the buckle, spring arms 16 of male component 12 are inserted into opening 18 of female component 14 (arrows A in FIG. 1), with center guide 13 sliding into center channel 12 (see FIG. 1C) to align the male and female components. The spring arms 16 expand into release openings 20 as the buckle is closed (FIG. 1A), with shoulder 17 of each spring arm engaging the edge 19 of the release opening 20. To release the buckle, the user presses the spring arms 16 together to disengage them from release openings 20 and thereby allow the male and female components to separate (arrows B in FIG. 1A).

Side release buckle 10 includes webbing receiving portion 22 for receiving a webbing strap. One or both components of the buckle may include a pair of slots 22a, 22b separated by a bar 24, as shown on the male component in FIGS. 1 and 1A. As shown in FIG. 1D, to secure webbing strap 23, it is threaded through slot 22a, over the bar 24, back through slot 22b and under bar 26. The length of the strap can be adjusted by sliding the strap through the slots. If adjustability is not desired, one or both of the components may include a single slot 22c, as shown on the female component in FIGS. 1 and 1A. This allows a webbing strap to be threaded through the slot, folded back upon itself, and stitched in place, as shown in FIG. 1B (stitching 29).

Other patents which shown similar quick release buckles are le Gal, U.S. Pat. No. 5,309,610 issued May 10, 1994; Goorhouse, U.S. Pat. No. 6,076,237 issued Jun. 20, 2000; Ide et al., U.S. Pat. No. 6,481,066 B1 issued Nov. 19, 2002; Turpin, U.S. Pat. No. 7,073,234 B2 issue don Jul. 11, 2006.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a quick release buckle for a typical football helmet having a face mask and a chin strap. The quick release buckle includes a male portion of the buckle which is attached to the free end of the chin strap, the other end of the chin strap being attached to the helmet. The quick release buckle also includes a female portion which is attachable to the helmet at a location opposite from the chin strap.

The male potion of the buckle is provide with a pair of spring arms and a central guide which are receivable in the female portion of the buckle. The center guide is receivable in a center channel in the female portion of the buckle. The spring arms are compressible and, when released, will expand into release openings in the female portion of the buckle. A shoulder on each spring arm will lock against an inner rim on the release openings.

A drawstring connects to the outer end of the central guide thought the center channel. The drawstring, center guide and central channel all have the same cross-sectional shape (preferably rectangular) so that pulling on the drawstring will pull the center guide into the central channel while the spring arms are received in the release openings to lock the two parts of the buckle together.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a football helmet where the quick release buckle of the present invention is shown in relation thereto.

FIG. 2 is an exploded view of the parts of the quick release buckle in separated condition.

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but showing the parts of the buckle in connected condition.

FIG. 4 is a sectional view through the female portion of the buckle taken along section line 4-4 of FIG. 2.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the buckle shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 2 but showing a female portion of a snap which permits attachment to a male portion on the helmet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to the drawings in detail, FIG. 1 shows a typical football helmet 30 having a face mask 32 and a chin strap 34 which is secured (at the end unseen to the helmet) in any convenient manner and attached to the buckle 10 of the present invention at its end in the foreground. The football helmet 30 is also provided with a typical male snap portion 36 which would be used to secure the quick release buckle 10 in a manner later to be described.

Referring now to FIGS. 2 and 3, the quick release buckle 10 of the present invention is comprised of a male component 12 and a female component 14. To fasten the two buckle components together, spring arms 16 of the male component 12 are inserted into opening 18 of the female component 14. A center guide 13 of the male component slides into center channel 15 (see now FIG. 4) of the female component 14. The spring arms 16 will expand into release openings 20 as the buckle is closed (FIG. 3). The shoulder 17 of each spring arm engages the edge 19 of the release opening 20. The female portion 14 of the quick release clasp 10 is preferably connected to the helmet 30 as shown in FIG. 4 wherein a screw 38 passes through a female portion 40 of a snap centrally through the male portion 36 of the snap on the helmet 30 and into a nut 42 on the inside of the helmet. This provides a semi-permanent connection for the female portion 14 to the helmet; however, if a less permanent type connection is desired, the screw 38 can be eliminated and connection can be had between the female portion 14 and the male portion 36 of the snap on the helmet by means of a female snap portion 40 which would be conveniently attached to the inside of the female portion 14 of the buckle.

The present invention also includes a draw string or plastic cord 50 which is substantially rectangled in cross-section, conforming to the rectangular cross-section of the guide 13 on the male portion 12 of the buckle 10. The drawstring 50 passes through center channel 15 of the female portion 14 of the buckle and connects at its left-hand end to the right hand end of the center guide 13 on the male portion 12 of the buckle. Thus, when the drawstring 50 is pulled (toward the right in relation to FIG. 2) the guide 13 will be urged into the center channel 15 of the female portion of the buckle until the spring arms 16 head into the release openings 20 as shown best in FIG. 3. For the purpose of assisting in pulling the drawstring 50, as described above, a ball 52 of slightly larger diameter than the drawstring 50 itself is attached to the left-hand end of the drawstring.

Conversely, when it is desired to remove the helmet 30 from the player, the spring arms 16 are depressed and the buckle 10 is separated as shown in FIG. 2 and it will permit maximum opening of the buckle when the ball 52 comes to rest against the right-hand side of the female portion 14 of the buckle 10.

For the purpose of permitting a screw driver to insert the screw 38 into the position shown in FIG. 4 a circular hole 54 is provided in the male 12 or female portion 14 of the release buckle 10.

As indicated above, the left hand end of the draw sting 50 is preferably permanently connected to (or is integral with) the right hand end of the center guide 13; however, for ease of assembly, it may be desirable to provide the draw string 50 as a separate element which can be attached to the center guide 13 at the time of assembly of the invention into the helmet 30; in this regard, the left hand end of the draw string 50 may be provided with a toothed strap (not shown) such as depicted in FIGS. 1 to 3 of Munch U.S. Pat. No. 4,214,349 issued Jul. 39, 1980 (the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference) whereas the right hand end of the guide 13 will be provided with a head (not shown) including a strap receiving passage (not shown) such as depicted in FIGS. 4, 5, 6 and 8 of the aforesaid Munch Patent whereby the left hand end of the draw string 50 is locked in the strap receiving passage at the right hand end of the guide 13 and cannot be released.